blzzrdqueen
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Question about starting compost.

I've never done compost before but I know it has many benefits to gardening. I just don't know where to start. I'm hoping you all can help me and give me tips on starting and maintaining a constant compost for my potted garden! Thank you!!
Jennifer
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and Abigail (5/24/08)

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hendi_alex
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Start by searching "compost" in the search field of this board. You will get many hits as this topic has been discussed extensively. Next try more specific compost related searches. When you get a little more direction, ask your specific questions on this forum and I'm sure you will get the help that you need.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

cynthia_h
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There are five pages of thread titles here at The Helpful Gardener which discuss compost at

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=35

These are only *some* of the sites the Search will return, because compost has also been discussed under Organic Gardening, Vegetable Gardening, and a few other forums here at THG.

Each gardener's situation is different, so each gardener's compost situation will also be different.

Please see my post at

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12488 (the fifth post in the thread; I responded more than once)

where I list the "seven stages" a gardener goes through on the subject of Compost.

Cynthia H.
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rainbowgardener
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starting compost

As noted, there's already a ton of info in the forum on the topic, browse around. But some of it gets technical and confusing, so I'll give you my version of easy, no work composting. Get yourself some kind of bin to keep your compost pile piled. You can build one out of wood or concrete blocks (just be sure there are spaces between the slats or whatever, so it's not air tight). I bought a simple 4'X4' coated wire bin from garden store, which was pretty cheap and a great investment, since it's lasted more than a decade now. Once you have a bin, throw everything in it, kitchen scraps, all your yard waste, etc. Don't put meat scraps in, but I put pretty much everything else, including the coffee filters with the coffee grounds, paper towels... I keep a tightly covered bucket under the kitchen sink to collect kitchen scraps and just dump it in the pile when it gets full and/or nasty to open. When you add the kitchen scraps to the compost pile, cover them with a thick layer of leaves, weeds, whatever you have. Whenever it's hot and dry enough to need to water your plants, water your compost pile also, so it doesn't dry out.

That's it. Throw stuff in, keep adding to it as you need to, make sure there's a general balance between wet and dry, don't let it dry out. In 3-6 months, I take all the stuff off the top of the pile and make it the bottom of a new pile. At the bottom will be more or less finished compost, full of earthworms. Once you take the stuff off the top and expose the part where the earthworms are to sun and air, it will quickly become finished compost. I don't measure, turn, or worry about my compost and it works fine, though not as fast or hot as people who do it more scientifically.

The Helpful Gardener
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Finding someone that already has a good pile cooking can be a great way to sponge a little "starter" to help innoculate your pile, adding the necessary microbes to get things started...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

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hendi_alex
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Starting a worm composter for kitchen scraps is also another good way to create kind of a starter or boost for the compost pile. The worms work really quickly to convert the kitchen scraps. In just a few weeks you can begin taking batches of the organic residue which will include some earthworms and move them into the compost pile. All kinds of friendly microbes will be in that matter, plus the worm population with literally explode in the cooler parts of the compost pile.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

The Helpful Gardener
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That's a good call Alex.

Worms not only add a fertilizer component; they actually help mitigate the bad microbes like fecal coliform and E. coli as well...

HG
Scott Reil

rot
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starting out

..
When I started out I found https://www.compostinfo.com/ very helpful.

Anyone who is already composting will get you all kinds of helpful hints and tips but that's what works for them. There are a gazillion ways to remediate organic material through composting.

Whatever path you choose, bins, piles, hot, cold, worms, lasagna, fast, slow, etc, make it work for you. If it doesn't work for you it won't do the job.

two cents
..

Chelonia
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most helpful

After reading this topic, I feel better about my first compost pile. I use grass clippings, dry leaves, leftover food from my tortoises, veggie scraps, coffee grounds & filters, shredded newspaper and fallen pecan blossoms. I am ordering worms tomorrow. No meat scraps. I don't have it contained yet but will build a cement block U-shaped bin soon. This sounds like what others are doing but how do worms live in compost when it gets "hot" ? Also, I sure don't plan on peeing on my compost pile even if I have to get up in the middle of the night. :oops: I can pee outdoors behind a bush but not on top of a compost pile...sorry Rot!
Alice
An amateur gardener in Oklahoma, land of clay soil and fickle weather.

bullthistle
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The best thing I learned about my compost pile is that I blend my kitchen scrapes, coffee and tea rinds too, first and obviously the worms enjoy it because I've had thousands of red wigglers in the summer

The Helpful Gardener
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And did you ever notice how lively the worms in the bin are? Flipping and twisting to get back down in all those goodies... they got lots of watermelon rind today...they love that...

HG
Scott Reil



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